Vintages, again! Three masculine picks

Jacomo de Jacomo by Jacomo (1980)

Jacomo de Jacomo opens with a hyper-black, hyper-dry fougère blend dusted with an intoxicating, overwhelming dose of dry and bold spices, notably cloves – pungent, harsh, almost rough. Really modern, if you ask me: the structure is of a classic masculine cologne (leather, patchouli, oak moss, woods, etc.), but this ultra-dry, black, spicy fog is pure “future baroque” for me. A really creative variation on the theme. Can’t really describe the smell exactly, but it’s really pungent, sour, dry and as I said, quite harsh. Together with oak moss and leather it creates a threatening and austere feel, like crashing on the dusty arid soil of a black planet (any Sisters of Mercy fan out there?). Think of some dark powerhouses like Krizia Uomo, Krizia Moods, Smalto PH, just with a crazy dose of cloves. Then however, quite soon a bit of the charme fades away; after one hour or so, as the spices tone down, it emerges the bone-structure of Jacomo, which is a more conventional and softer “barbershop” scent: woody, herbal, mossy and soapy, still spicy, dry and dark but a bit more friendly, lighter and more wearable (but also slightly more dull in a way, as without that crazy initial blackness it becomes more close to just another “generic” barbershop scent like many others – still good and still different, just with a bit less of that “special” added value). Anyway: an austere, creative and shady take on the classic masculine scent, fascinating and quite ahead of its time for sure, well crafted and a must for any “gloomy fougères” enthusiast.



Pour Homme by Francesco Smalto (1987)

Smalto pour Homme is a great powerhouse, much more peculiar and original than it may seem (or well, than it seemed to me). Basically it opens with a balsamic-citrus accord on a gloomy base of smoke, bold tan leather, oak moss, woods (vetiver, perhaps sandalwood), with a peculiar sort of "outdoors" herbal-anisic-tea breeze going around (I guess due to fennel and tarragon), together with other unusual and really well-played notes: I get something boozy, licorice, a colorful blend of spices and herbs. Somehow it’s a conventional “dark smoky fougère”, but it does just a step further, showing quite an interesting set of unique features: it does not have all the raw, austere, dry shadiness of many leathers like Knize, it’s not a skanky animalic scent like Ungaro II, not an oak moss beast like Quorum, and not only a herbal-aromatic fougère like Tsar... yet it has something of all of these, reshuffled in a an interesting, pleasant and recognizable way. It has something raw and playful, but at the same time it show a manly dark sophistication, really classy in its own way. It’s a powerhouse fougère, but it’s not similar to any other in particular, except for the names I mentioned above (Smalto basically smells like their hippie homeless cousin). And actually, for as much weird it may sound, it reminds me also of some contemporary niche scents, mostly for the unusual contrasts, the creativity, and the fact that it manages to smell not outdated at all. It’s much bold though, and after a while it may start to smell a bit boring (also because of the load of harsh spices you get on the drydown, similar as Jacomo de Jacomo for instance). As many powerhouses, it projects like a devil and lasts for ages. To rediscover!



Fendi Uomo by Fendi (1988)

Fendi Uomo opens as a fresh-herbal aromatic fougère with an tamed down leathery-woody base, quite soft but “virile”, and an overall sharp barbershop feel (lavender, carnation, citrus notes, leather...). Fairly pleasant, clean and well made, but frankly also quite conventional, at least initially and for a while – in a “boring” meaning, much similar to many other fougères from the ‘80s in the same kind of leathery-herbal style (no powerhouses, no civet/leather bombs, rather just “dad’s classy aftershave”). Nonetheless, during the evolution it becomes more interesting, more unique and quite more fascinating: it gets darker, drier, losing a bit of its formal understatement and becoming more smoky, more austere, more sophisticated and shady. Fans of recent Amouage leather-based scents like Journey Man may like this (just compare the drydowns). It’s still somehow conventional, therefore still a tad boring honestly, but good. Overall I’d consider it a solid, compelling, understated, not-that-exciting “all-year-rounder”, unworthy any high price or chase, but worth a try for any herbal-leathery fougère fan.


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